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TGt Meets...Jodie Fraser, Managing Director of Fraser Allen Estate Management - IWD Special
By Jodie Fraser who is managing director, of Fraser Allen Estate Management which specialises in the communal block management and property management across the Cotswolds and the South West.
What do you #choosetochallenge?
Over the past year, running a business during lockdown and being a mother to my 16-month-old daughter has not only been a challenge but a logistical nightmare. In some respects, I was lucky that I didn’t have to answer to a manager and negotiate time off, but in general it was incredibly hard to juggle these two important aspects of my life because I had to answer to my clients who are also important to me.
I would therefore choose to challenge all companies to embrace the new normal of home working and introduce flexible working hours for men and women who have caring responsibilities, not just for children but for elderly relatives who need our help. Life is a juggling act at the best of times but when all of your best laid plans go out of the window, we need to achieve a more understanding and cooperative work life balance.
Thinking of your own experience in the world of business – which inequalities, if any, have you experienced personally or witnessed around gender?
During my time running my own business, I have not knowingly experienced any inequalities. In fact, I have worked extremely well with men within my industry and they respect my knowledge and experience.
Have you during your career ever challenged a situation where you felt a woman (even it’s yourself) has been disadvantaged by gender?
In previous jobs I have been made to feel inadequate. I have received comments about my clothes, how I wear my hair, promising promotions, which were then given to a male colleague. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to run my own business, so I could control the narrative and it’s the best decision I could have made.
What do you think women offer in particular to the world of business?
To be honest, women can offer anything that men can, but from my own experience women can be more diplomatic and empathetic and will generally take more time and care over a job or situation. Obviously, I am generalising a bit and only drawing from my own experiences.
What do you think men offer in particular to the world of business?
A logical mind and a strong will. This can be a fantastic trait in some situations.
Is gender important when it comes to success in business?
Definitely not. We can all be successful in our own right. There’s room for us all.
Can you name any women in business you admire?
The absolute legend that is Fiona Scott of Scott Media. I met Fiona a few years ago and I love her can do, no nonsense attitude. Her knowledge is second to none and I am so grateful for her support over the past year.
Kate Hayden of Kate Hayden Design. I have known Kate for 20 years and her graphic design skills are the reason why my website and branding looks so professional. She has a great eye for detail and the work she creates is fantastic. She actively supports small businesses and I can’t recommend her enough.
Alyson Standing of Oakbridge Chiropractic Clinic is a close friend of mine and a chiropractor in South Wales. Alyson’s business had to close during the pandemic. She will tell you that technology isn’t her thing but she embraced remote/virtual ways of works as well as looking for other work to support herself and her family.
Not only was she dealing with this but she also took time out to care for her brother when he was seriously ill. My admiration for Alyson is unwavering, especially as she is completely unaware of her own brilliance.
Can you name any men in business you admire?
Jonathan Bowcott of Jonathan Bowcott Photography (who also took this image of me) is a local photographer. He is genuinely kind, gracious, a very talented photographer and someone I hope I can call a friend. During lockdown he did a series of doorstep photographs, which he cleverly named ‘Covid Chronicles’ as well as showcasing independent high street shops.
Andrew Turner from Hughes Paddison Solicitors, who I work with on a regular basis on any legal matters pertaining to my business. Andrew has absolutely kept me sane during some tricky situations. As well as being professional he is also incredibly approachable, which makes stressful legal matters a lot easier to deal with.
Dr Edward Emmanuel, a doctor by profession (and staunch egalitarian) and an honourable mentor/life coach to me. He has helped me through some traumatic and heart-breaking periods in my life, of which I am incredibly grateful.
Do you think women who start their own business experience more challenges than men?
Again, I can only talk from my own experiences, but I do believe women are held to a higher standard when starting their business. The possibility of children ‘getting in the way’ is a risk to some clients and I can appreciate that. Women do at times have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously as well as juggling other life responsibilities.
What do you think about the gender pay gap?
To be frank, it’s despicable. Same job means the same pay, regardless of gender. I’ve certainly experienced it in the past and fought hard for it to be changed, however why should it always be a woman’s battle to do this? Men need to get involved with this and stand up for their female colleagues.
What do you think about the International Women’s Day movement?
It’s an incredibly important day that should always be celebrated now and in the future. We should always celebrate the success of women, especially when you recognise how far women have come in the world of business. It wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t even vote so let’s embrace every achievement.
I am grateful to all of the men and women I work with now and in the past. If it wasn’t for some of the experiences I have been through, I wouldn’t be able to talk so openly about it for International Women's Day 2021.
For more information visit www.fraserallenem.co.uk
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